The Best Hotels to Book in San Sebastian

On the coast of the Bay of Biscay, San Sebastian is a memorable place to stay
On the coast of the Bay of Biscay, San Sebastian is a memorable place to stay | Courtesy of Irenaz Resort / Expedia
Mark Nayler

Parisian-style townhouses, a grand seafront promenade, spacious beaches and an unfair share of Michelin-starred restaurants make San Sebastian one of Spain’s most enticing cities.

Whether you’re planning a surfing break centred on Playa de Zurriola or looking to fuel your wandering spirit with an endless supply of pintxos – the Basque take on tapas – there’s so much to enjoy here. From art-themed boutiques in the centre to country retreats high above the city, these are our picks for a stay at a hotel San Sebastian will always remind you of – bookable on Culture Trip.

1. Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra

Boutique Hotel

Exterior of the several-storey Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra, as seen from the beach
Courtesy of Hotel de Londres y de Inglaterra / Expedia

Opened in 1876, this classic Belle Epoque hotel looks out to Santa Clara island from San Sebastian’s grand seafront promenade. Rooms feature a soothing palette, antique furniture, marble bathrooms and most also have beach-view balconies – one of the Penthouse Suites also has its own jacuzzi. On-site Swing Bar and Terrace offers classic cocktails, salads, burgers and pizzas – and the Brasserie Mari Gallant showcases top Basque produce in dishes such as charcoal-grilled txuleta with deluxe potatoes.

2. Hotel La Galería

Hotel

View towards the beach, water and outcrops from a balcony at Hotel La Galería
Courtesy of Hotel La Galería / Expedia

As the name suggests, art is the dominant theme at this elegant boutique, which occupies a late 19th-century, Hausmann-esque mansion behind Ondarreta Beach. Period-themed rooms feature reproductions of works by Picasso, Renoir, Dali and Miro above dark-wood headboards, wooden ceiling fans and parquet floors – many also have Juliet balconies with bay views. Breakfast is available for a daily fee and bikes can be hired from reception for a pleasant 15-minute ride to the Old Town.

3. Hotel Villa Soro

Boutique Hotel, Hotel, Villa

Exterior of the Hotel Villa Soro, with a balcony terrace overlooking a manicured lawn
Courtesy of Hotel Villa Soro / Expedia

This 19th-century, British-style mansion is at the centre of grounds by Pierre Ducasse, the French designer responsible for the gardens of San Sebastian’s Royal Palace. The first or second-floor deluxe rooms boast garden views through floor-to-ceiling windows, antique writing desks and big marble bathrooms. Soak up the tranquillity of your surroundings from the terrace of the Eguzki Soro Bar – in which breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks are served.

4. Irenaz Resort

Suite Hotel, Serviced Apartment

Exterior of Irenaz Resort, with various plants by the entrance and umbrellas on terraces
Courtesy of Irenaz Resort / Expedia

Apartments at this ultra-modern self-catering complex sleep up to six guests – and a baby. All feature private terraces overlooking the lush Basque countryside, fully equipped kitchens, separate living rooms and a smart, minimalist decor that favours blues, greys and black. Communal areas comprise a canteen-style lounge with a giant plasma TV, zen garden and a concierge service that can arrange tickets, dry cleaning and restaurant bookings for you. The cherry on top of the hotel? San Sebastian centre is just a 15-minute drive or taxi ride away.

5. Pensión Nuevas Artes

Independent Hotel

Single bed with two lamps above it in stone-wall room at Pensión Nuevas Artes
Courtesy of Pensión Nuevas Artes / Expedia

A top choice for city-centre budget accommodation, this cosy guesthouse offers 10 ensuite double rooms with exposed stone walls, French windows and polished hardwood floors – and some are available with an extra single bed. There are no on-site facilities, but the owners provide annotated maps as well as excellent restaurant and sightseeing recommendations. Discounted parking is available nearby and the Old Town and Concha Beach are both a 10-minute walk away – via lively Calle Urbieta.

6. Hotel Zenit San Sebastian

Hotel

Several cushioned seats, armchairs and small tables in communal area at Hotel Zenit San Sebastian
Courtesy of Hotel Zenit San Sebastian / Expedia

Book a stay at this four-star hotel in San Sebastian and you’ll have access to a rooftop terrace with a solarium and a two-person hot tub. Other on-site add-ons comprise a gym, a glass-walled lobby bar with high ceilings and leather armchairs, and Restaurante Enea – in which a daily menu showcases market-fresh ingredients. Suites, double and family rooms feature pinewood floors and walls, street views and 2.1m-long (6.9ft) beds designed for athletes. Secure parking is also available on-site.

7. Boutique Hotel Mendi Argia

Hotel, Luxury

Outdoor pool area at Boutique Hotel Mendi Argia, with views of open water and cliffs, plus two handrails and loungers
Courtesy of Boutique Hotel Mendi Argia / Expedia

Carefully renovated by two brothers from the Basque village of Gernika, this early-20th-century manor house sits high on Mount Ulia, 3.5km (2.1mi) from San Sebastian. Surrounded by gardens in which an old Basque pelota court lies hidden, rooms feature original stone walls and carved wood panelling alongside glassed-in bathrooms and freestanding, city-view bathtubs. Book the Ulia Romantica suite and you’ll also have a black marble Japanese bath to soak in before sitting out on the terrace overlooking San Sebastian.

This is a rewrite of an article originally by Lena Blos.

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